It would be comforting to believe that everyone respected ancient artifacts as shared objects that define our universal cultural heritage and were aware of the irreparable loss that tomb looting causes. Sadly this is not reality, for many reasons, and I would be remiss if no comment on this fact were included here.
There will be no apologies for my role as a collector. Museums and collections stand witness today of past achievements because people were willing to expend their time and resources to collect things that others would discard or destroy. My intention is to become part of the tradition that preserves, and more importantly, shares.
Then there’s economics. Too often, the people to whom these items should belong are active participants in the selling, looting and destruction of their own patrimony. An empty pot is meaningless to people with empty stomachs. Conversely, pride of ownership allows collectors to justify clearly unacceptable behavior. The argument that opening government storerooms and flooding the markets with objects already consigned to oblivion would end tomb looting is ridiculous. Ultimately, leaving these artifacts the whims of local sensibilities, the vagaries of government policy of the intentions of private collectors offers no solution to the dilemma of how to deal with these precious objects.
The one common goal we can all strive to achieve is for everyone to have access to the treasures of our collective past. It is hoped that placing our collection online is a small step toward achieving that dream.